A fisherman was looking for food and almost became one himself.
But he survived without major injuries and is now describing the incident.
Provincetown / Massachusetts - Is that a Pinocchio story?
In the United States, a man was temporarily swallowed by a whale.
He describes it himself - and a witness agrees with him.
"I was diving for lobsters when a humpback whale tried to eat me," Michael Packard told the media on Friday.
The whale spat it out again after 30 to 40 seconds
"I have bruises all over the place, but no broken bones," Packard said.
After a short stay in hospital, he was released.
Packard is a fisherman from Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Curious: whale swallows man and then spits - "Was thrown into the air"
In an interview with the local
broadcaster CBSN Boston
, the fisherman said that he was about 13 meters deep when he suddenly felt a violent jolt "and everything went black".
At first he thought he was attacked by a shark.
But there were no teeth and he wasn't in severe pain.
"That's when I realized, oh my god, I'm in the mouth of a whale and he's trying to swallow me," Packard told the broadcaster.
He thought he was going to die, but the whale swam to the surface and spat him out.
"I was thrown in the air and landed in the water."
Man swallowed by whale: researcher is said to have witnessed the incident
All in all a difficult story to believe - but Packard has a witness: Josiah Mayo went out fishing and was on board their ship.
According to his own account, Mayo Packard helped out of the water and notified the rescue workers.
And: Josiah Mayo is the son of a researcher and expert on whales at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown.
"I know the people involved (...) so I have every reason to believe what they are saying is true," said research centre's humpback whale studies director, Jooke Robbins, of the
Whale expert is certain: a strange accident is quite possible
Although she has never heard of such an "accident" before, she thinks it is entirely possible.
Foraging whales "rush ahead with their mouths open and swallow fish and water very quickly," said Robbins.
"Their mouths are quite wide," but "their throats are rather narrow" - impossible for them to swallow anything large like a man.
After a 15-month pandemic break, tourism is currently starting up again in the Provincetown area. Against this background, "it is important that people are aware of these powerful marine mammals," warns the expert. “If you see a whale, keep your distance. It is really important to give space to the whales. "
(AFP / frs)